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CES 2014: Consumer Gadgets with Workplace Applications

Though CES doesn't focus on government, the convention's technology is so pervasive that much of it will likely find its way into the public sector one way or another.

CES 2014
Last week’s CES 2014 in Las Vegas was the latest run of the annual convention that's world-famous as a hotbed of technological innovation for the commercial market -- but some products could come in handy in the workplace as well.

Government Technology visited the convention and saw multiple products that could benefit an office worker the same way they would someone at home. 

Intel’s evening panel on Jan. 6 brought a bevy of industry news that could change modern computing at home and at work. CEO Brian Krzanich announced Edison, an SD-card sized Pentium-class PC that offers incredible computing power at an extremely small size. A pint-sized dynamo like that could allow inventors to create wearable computers that work with big data in the public and private sectors for numerous applications. Krzanich also announced Intel processors that let users press buttons to switch between Android and Windows operating systems -- such a dual operating system environment that offers a level of computing adaptability isn’t common today.

Krzanich sounded confident that inventions like these could revolutionize modern computing overall, especially Edison, which could be the gateway to smaller, wearable computers and applications that will be more plentiful for various uses.

“Most of my career, computing has been something you hold in your hand. Maybe it’s something in your pocket [or] something that sits on your desk,” he said. “That idea is about to be transformed.”

Elsewhere, other vendors displayed promising creations of their own on the exhibit floors.

iRobot had a collection of robot vacuums that glide around the floor on wheels, detecting dust and debris with optical and acoustic sensors. The company markets these units to consumers, but employees said that they could also be used in offices.

“The problem of being busy is a problem for everybody, and it happens to us at work [and] in the house. We all want to maintain a clean environment,” said product manager Max Makeev. “I think in the office, it’s actually easier to think when you have a cleaner space, but we don’t have the time to actually clean.”

Also a universal concept is that of protecting our mobile devices. Enter Liquipel, which demonstrated their coatings and screens that staff claim protects mobile devices from most water and impact damage. The company’s treatment process coats devices with liquid repellent molecules. Water and impact-resistant mobile devices could save government workers a lot of headaches both at the office and at home.

“This works for absolutely everyone. It’s not a certain group of people that it works for,” said sales representative Autumn Allenbach. “Everyone drops their phone. Everyone’s spilled something on their phone. If you have kids or you go outside of your house, you’re either dropping your phone or spilling something on it."

Though CES doesn't focus on government, and government presence is typically minimal compared to technology giants like Intel, the convention's technology is so pervasive that much of it will likely find its way into public sector workplaces one way or another.